Daily Archives: August 2, 2010

Glenn Beck’s Radio Rwanda schtick is transforming Fox News into an organization that promotes domestic terrorism

Planet Earth is the asylum to which the rest of the universe sends its lunatics. — Voltaire

 

It was a little amusing that Fox News contributor Wayne Simmons this weekend attacked WikiLeaks as “a terrorist organization that uses the First Amendment of the United States to hide behind.”

Talk about projection — for anyone associated with Fox News.

Because Glenn Beck has made it perfectly clear on his Fox News show this week that he has no intention whatsoever of backing down from his demonization and scapegoating of the Tides Foundation on Fox, even after one of his TV acolytes, ginned up by Beck’s repeated smears and attacks on Tides, engaged Oakland police in a massive shootout that wounded two police officers, en route to a planned terrorist attack on Tides’ Bay Area offices that no doubt would have left a number of innocent people dead had he not been apprehended beforehand.

Indeed, all this week he stepped it up: For much of the week, he pretended that the shootout hadn’t even happened, refusing to even mention it in segments featuring Netroots Nation panel remarks in which the planned terrorist attack was the de facto context. On Wednesday, as you can see above, he continued to smear Tides’ work by claiming it promotes an ideology identical to that held by the Weather Underground. Then on Friday, he made up his own “facts” in order to compare it to a sniper shooting in Oakland that had no known political component.

Make no mistake: Glenn Beck has been inciting acts of terrorist violence, and the Byron Williams case clearly establishes it — even though it is far from the first such case. It in fact was preceded by several similar cases in which the dehumanizing rhetoric, scapegoating and conspiracist smears promoted by Fox clearly played a powerful role in the violence that ensued:

Jim David Adkisson’s shooting attack on a Knoxville Unitarian church. Adkisson left behind a manifesto that repeated numerous right-wing talking points generated by Fox commentators and specifically cited a Bernard Goldberg book. His library at home was stocked with books by Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage.

Richard Poplawski’s shooting of three Pittsburgh police officers, because he believed a conspiracy theory that President Obama intended to take Americans’ guns away from them, and he reportedly believed the cops had arrived to carry it out. Poplawski, a white supremacist, liked to post Beck videos about FEMA concentration camps to the Stormfront comments board.

Scott Roeder’s assassination of Dr. George Tiller. Roeder was heavily involved in Operation Rescue and avidly read its newsletters — which featured weekly pieces from Bill O’Reilly, including several attacking Tiller as a “baby killer” — and its website, which liked to feature O’Reilly videos attacking Dr. Tiller. Indeed, O’Reilly had indulged a high-profile and unusually obsessive (not to mention vicious) jihad against Tiller, resulting in 42 such attacks on Tiller, 24 of which referred to him generically as a “baby killer.”

The Byron Williams case was functionally a shot across Fox News’ bow: a warning that it is playing with extreme fire by allowing Beck to recklessly demonize specific targets and to inflame his audience against them by imputing the most extreme and nefarious motives to them. In the case of Tides, Beck has been claiming all along that they are trying to “brainwash your children” — a charge that always raises extremely visceral reactions.

If Fox allows this continue, then eventually someone — someone who eats, breathes and lives Fox News, as so many right-wingers do these days — is going to succeed. Eventually, someone is going to walk into (or drive up to) the offices of some group that Beck has singled out as being part of a nefarious progressive “cancer” that is “destroying America” — whether it is the Tides Foundation, or the ACLU, or the SEIU, someone at MSNBC, or from ACORN — and shoot the place up or set off a bomb.

And then not just Glenn Beck, but Fox News and all its affiliates, are going to have blood on their hands. And there will not be any hiding it or pretending otherwise.

Beck wants to pretend that all he’s done is “discuss” the Tides Foundation — but in fact he’s consistently portrayed them as nefarious key players in the progressive “conspiracy” to “destroy America from within”, and he’s cast them in a particularly slimy role: propagandizing your unsuspecting children. Is it any wonder someone decided to “take them out”?

We can talk until we’re blue in the face about how profoundly irresponsible Fox and Beck are being. But matters have reached the point now that it is necessary to call them all out as an organization that is aiding and abetting domestic terrorism.

It must stop.

It’s important to understand that the conspiracism with which Beck smears groups like the Tides Foundation is, as Chip Berlet explains, a powerful form of scapegoating:

Societal outbreaks of conspiracism are a distinct form of scapegoating in the political arena rather than an outcome of a paranoid psychological pathology. In conspiracist discourse, the supposed conspirators serve as scapegoats for the actual conflict within the society.

… By blaming a small group of individuals for vast crimes or simple evil, conspiracism serves to divert attention from the institutional locus of power that drives systemic oppression, injustice and exploitation.

As explained by Frank P. Mintz:

“Conspiracism serves the needs of diverse political and social groups in America and elsewhere. It identifies elites, blames them for economic and social catastrophes, and assumes that things will be better once popular action can remove them from positions of power.”

Right wing conspiracist scapegoating not only identifies and blames elites, but also identifies and blames alleged subversives and parasites from groups that have relatively lower social or economic status. This is the classic producerist stance. Conspiracist allegation can also be used to attack the status quo by outsider elite factions seeking power.

Remember the scapegoating role played by electronic media in the Rwandan Genocide:

Due to high rates of illiteracy at the time of the genocide, radio was an important way for the government to deliver messages to the public. Two radio stations key to inciting violence before and during the genocide were Radio Rwanda and Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). In March 1992, Radio Rwanda was first used in directly promoting the killing of Tutsi in Bugesera, south of the national capital Kigali. Radio Rwanda repeatedly broadcast a communiqué warning that Hutu in Bugesera would be attacked by Tutsi, a message used by local officials to convince Hutu that they needed to protect themselves by attacking first. Led by soldiers, Hutu civilians and members of the Interahamwe subsequently attacked and killed hundreds of Tutsi.

At the end of 1993, the RTLM’s highly sensationalized reporting on the assassination of the Burundi president, a Hutu, was used to underline supposed Tutsi brutality. The RTLM falsely reported that the president had been tortured, including castration of the victim (in pre-colonial times, some Tutsi kings castrated defeated enemy rulers). From late October 1993, the RTLM repeatedly broadcast themes developed by the extremist written press, underlining the inherent differences between Hutu and Tutsi, the foreign origin of Tutsi, the disproportionate share of Tutsi wealth and power, and the horrors of past Tutsi rule. The RTLM also repeatedly stressed the need to be alert to Tutsi plots and possible attacks and called upon Hutu to prepare to ‘defend’ themselves against the Tutsi. After April 6, 1994, authorities used the RTLM and Radio Rwanda to spur and direct killings, specifically in areas where the killings were initially resisted. Both radio stations were used to incite and mobilize then give specific directions for carrying out the killings.

Glenn Beck is taking Fox down that road. It’s time for the network to pull the plug

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10 Republican Lies About the Bush Tax Cuts

The talking point from the GOP regarding ending the ten-year fiasco of the Bush Tax Cuts is that Dems want to raise taxes (by eliminating the Bush Tax cuts.)   The concept of “raising taxes” is being thrown around all over the blogosphere, print media and television.   Although they know that eliminating (as scheduled) the BTCs after its ten years run is not raising taxes on anyone.  Crooks & Liars has more:

Crooks & Liars

So it’s come down to this. On Saturday, David Stockman, the legendary Reagan budget chief who presided over the Gipper’s supply-side tax cuts, announced that the “debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party’s embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don’t matter if they result from tax cuts.” The next day, the former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, who famously helped sell the 2001 Bush tax cuts to Congress, declared them simply “disastrous.”

Sadly, Stockman and Greenspan are just about the only voices in the Republican Party speaking the truth about the fiscal devastation wrought by the expiring Bush tax cuts. After all, the national debt tripled under Ronald Reagan, only to double again during the tenure of George W. Bush. And as it turns out, the Bush tax cut windfall for the wealthy accounted for almost half the budget deficits during his presidency and, if made permanent, would contribute more to the U.S. budget deficit than the Obama stimulus, the TARP program, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and revenue lost to the recession – combined. Of course, you’d never know it listening to the leaders of GOP.

And that’s just the beginning. Here, then, are 10 Republican Lies about the Bush tax cuts:

For the details, data and charts for each, continue reading after the break.

Lie #1: Democrats Plan Across the Board Tax Hikes on January 1st

On July 19, Michigan Republican Dave Camp sent out an email blast warning of the “Democrats’ ticking tax time bomb” claiming “Americans to pay higher taxes starting January 1, 2011.” On July 20, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) declared, “Should Democrats get their way, every income tax bracket will increase on Jan. 1, 2011. Every single one.”

It’s no wonder Politifact deemed the charge “False.” As the fact checking site put it:

“For many months, Democratic officials have consistently said that they intend to let only the tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals lapse. The cutoff they usually suggest is $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly. President Obama campaigned on just such a plan.”

Which is exactly right. During the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama pledged to roll back the Bush tax cuts for couples earning over $250,000 a year while delivering tax relief for 95% of working households. President Obama has already delivered on the second promise. (Ironically, and despite the Tea Party’s rage, total federal, state and local taxes hit their lowest level since 1950.) Last week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner confirmed Obama’s intent to make good the first:

“We believe it is appropriate to let those tax cuts that go to the most fortunate expire.”

The shrill voices of the GOP aren’t merely lying on this point. The expiring Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, were after all, passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Republican President. As Ezra Klein recently put it, “Republicans now blaming Democrats for Bush tax cuts.”

Lie #2: Democrats Want a $3.8 Trillion Tax Increase

If nothing else, Republicans like Sarah Palin deserve a hand for having the chutzpah to pretend Democrats want a $3.8 trillion tax increase over the next decade.

On Sunday, Palin literally wrote that talking point on her hand in an appearance with Chris Wallace of Fox News:

“My palm isn’t large enough to have written all my notes down on what this tax increase, what it will result in…. Democrats are poised to cause the largest tax increase in U.S. history, it’s a tax increase of $3.8 trillion in the next ten years and it will have an effect on every single American who pays an income tax.”

Of course, this second Republican fraud is merely the flip-side of the first. Restoring upper bracket tax rates to their Clinton-era levels will impact only a sliver of American taxpayers. As ThinkProgress noted:

For one thing, according to the Pew Economic Policy Group, an extension of all of the Bush tax cuts will cost $3.1 trillion over ten years, once the costs of servicing the debt are factored in. But no one has proposed allowing them all expire, and it’s incredibly disingenuous of Republicans to claim otherwise, especially since it was a budget gimmick by former President George W. Bush to include the ten-year sunset at all.

Extending just the cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans will cost $830 billion over ten years.

Lie #3: Tax Cuts Pay for Themselves

But even that cost is one Republicans refuse to pay. As Jon Kyl, the second-ranking Senate Republican, told Chris Wallace three weeks ago:

“[Y]ou should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes,” Jon Kyl said on Fox News Sunday. “Surely Congress has the authority, and it would be right to — if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending, and that’s what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.”

Three days later, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) explained how his party miraculously turns bulls**t into gold:

“There’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.”

It’s no wonder, as Ezra Klein joked, that If a Democrat said something like that, “He’d be laughed out of the room.”

But how about the Congressional Budget Office’s estimations? “The new CBO data show that changes in law enacted since January 2001 increased the deficit by $539 billion in 2005. In the absence of such legislation, the nation would have a surplus this year. Tax cuts account for almost half — 48 percent — of this $539 billion in increased costs.” How about the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget? Their budget calculator shows that the tax cuts will cost $3.28 trillion between 2011 and 2018. How about George W. Bush’s CEA chair, Greg Mankiw, who used the term “charlatans and cranks” for people who believed that “broad-based income tax cuts would have such large supply-side effects that the tax cuts would raise tax revenue.” He continued: “I did not find such a claim credible, based on the available evidence. I never have, and I still don’t.”

Lie #4: The Bush Tax Cuts Didn’t Add to the Deficit

Of course, McConnell and Kyl were simply joining Judd Gregg, Tom Coburn, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Kay Bailey Hutchison and the rest of the new Republican alchemists selling Arthur Laffer’s supply-side snake oil. Even John McCain, who voted against the 2001 Bush tax cuts, got the religion just in time for the 2008 Republican primaries, arguing “Tax cuts, starting with Kennedy, as we all know, increase revenues.”

But it was House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) who offered the purest expression of that fantasy in defending the Bush tax cuts:

“It’s not the marginal tax rates … that’s not what led to the budget deficit. The revenue problem we have today is a result of what happened in the economic collapse some 18 months ago.”

“We’ve seen over the last 30 years that lower marginal tax rates have led to a growing economy, more employment and more people paying taxes.”

As it turned out, not so much.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities demolished the mythology promoted by President Bush (“You cut taxes and the tax revenues increase”) and the usual suspects on the right. CBPP found that Bush tax cuts accounted for almost half of the mushrooming deficits during his tenure:

And as another recent CBPP analysis revealed, over the next 10 years, the Bush tax cuts if made permanent will contribute more to the U.S. budget deficit than the Obama stimulus, the TARP program, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and revenue lost to the recession put together.

The Bush tax cuts didn’t come anywhere close to paying for themselves. And making them permanent is the very worst thing the so-called deficit hawks could do to reduce the U.S. debt.

Lie #5: Expiring High Income Tax Cuts Will Hurt Small Business

As Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) complained, allowing the Bush cuts to lapse for the wealthiest Americans would amount to “a job-killing tax hike on small business during tough economic times.” Mike Pence echoed that argument, fretting “the idea that you would raise taxes on small businesses owners and job creators in the middle of this recession doesn’t make any sense.”

As it turns out, very few small business owners would be impacted.

John McCain introduced this fraud along with Joe the Plumber during the 2008 campaign. McCain proclaimed Obama’s plan to restore Clinton-era tax rates for taxpayers making over $250,000 meant “the small businesses that we’re talking about would receive an increase in their taxes right now.” In February 2009, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) regurgitated the long-debunked talking point:

“I don’t think raising taxes is a great idea, and when our good friends on the other side of the aisle say raising the taxes on the wealthy, what they are really talking about is small business.”

Of course, they’re not talking about small business. As CNN concluded in October 2008, “fewer than 2% of small business owners would pay more under Obama’s plan.” But in case there was any doubt about the Republicans’ deception on the point, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center quickly put it to rest:

Out of 34.7 million filers with business income on Schedules C, E or F, 479,000 filers fall into the top two brackets, according to an analysis of projected 2009 filings by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

The other 34.3 million – or 98.6% – would be unaffected by Obama’s proposed rate hike.

Lie #6: The Estate Tax Devastates Small Businesses and Family Farms

In June, Florida Republican Senator George Lemieux summed up the impact of his party’s successful effort to temporarily kill the estate tax in 2010. “The joke is don’t go hunting with your children because right now there’s no estate tax in this country this year.” But the billions lost to the U.S. Treasury so that the heirs of billionaires could reap a staggering one-year windfall is no laughing matter.

The Republican scam over the so-called “death tax” is as bogus now as it was when President Bush first perpetrated it ten years ago. The “alternative” House GOP budget, fittingly unveiled by Rep. Paul Ryan on April Fool’s Day 2009, would eliminate the estate tax altogether. While Nevada Senator John Ensign griped, “It destroys a lot of small businesses and a lot of family farms and ranches in America,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) groused:

“People who aren’t wealthy, who may have built up value in land over generations and many family farms find themselves in situations where they’ve got to sell the farm in order the pay the taxes.”

Sadly for conservative myth-makers, that claim, too, is completely false.

As the Washington Post explained, under President Obama’s proposal (exempting couples with estates under $7 million with a 45 percent rate for amounts beyond that) 99.76% of estates would pay no taxes whatsoever. While CBPP estimated that only 1 in 500 estates is impacted by the current law, in 2009 the Tax Policy Center quantified just how few family farms or small businesses are actually impacted by the estate tax proposals under consideration:

We estimate that under the Obama proposal, 100 family farms and businesses would owe tax. (We define such estates as those where farm or business assets are valued at under $5 million and comprise the majority of estate assets.) The Lincoln-Kyl proposal would cut the number to 40. Even under current law, fewer than 2,700 family farms and businesses would owe tax.

And that wasn’t good enough for Arizona’s Jon Kyl, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate. Thanks to his obstructionism in December, the estate tax temporarily expired for one year as of January 1, 2010. (Barring new legislation in Congress, in 2011 the rate will jump back up to its pre-2001 Bush tax cut level of 55%, starting at $2 million per couple.) That could cost the U.S. Treasury billions this year. In the mean time, the message from the GOP to the wealthiest Americans is “die here, die now, pay less.”

Lie #7: The Bush Tax Cuts Helped All Americans

In February 2004, President Bush proclaimed, “we cut taxes, which basically meant people had more money in their pocket.” Of course, some people are more equal than others.

As the Center for American Progress noted at the time, “for the majority of Americans, the tax cuts meant very little,” adding, “By next year, for instance, 88% of all Americans will receive $100 or less from the Administration’s latest tax cuts.”

But that’s just the beginning of the story. As the CAP also reported, the Bush tax cuts delivered a third of their total benefits to the wealthiest 1% of Americans. And to be sure, their payday was staggering. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities detailed that by 2007, millionaires on average pocketed $120,000 from the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Those in the top 1% stashed an extra $45,000 a year. As a result, millionaires saw their after-tax incomes rise by 7.6%, while the gains for the middle quintile and bottom 20% of Americans were a paltry 2.3% and 0.4%, respectively.

And as the New York Times uncovered in 2006, the 2003 Bush dividend and capital gains tax cuts offered almost nothing to taxpayers earning below $100,000 a year. Instead, those windfalls reduced taxes “on incomes of more than $10 million by an average of about $500,000.” As the Times revealed in a jaw-dropping chart:

“The top 2 percent of taxpayers, those making more than $200,000, received more than 70% of the increased tax savings from those cuts in investment income.”

So it should come as no surprise, as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders lamented last week, that under President Bush the 400 richest taxpayers saw their tax rates halved – and their incomes double.

Lie #8. Extending Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy is the Best Way to Stimulate the Economy

In 1993, Senator Phil Gramm (yes, that Phil Gramm) said of President Clinton’s proposal to raise top-bracket tax rates to help erase the Reagan-Bush deficits, “I believe hundreds of thousands of people are going to lose their jobs…I believe Bill Clinton will be one of those people.” He was wrong on both counts.

Now, implicit in the Republican propaganda for making the Bush tax cuts permanent at a time of record income inequality is that more windfalls for the wealthy is the best way to stimulate the economy. As Florida GOP Senate hopeful Marco Rubio defended more tax cuts for the rich, “Jobs in America are created by people that have money or access to money.”

Again, the numbers tell a different story.

Analyses from the Congressional Budget Office and former McCain economic adviser Mark Zandi concluded that upper class tax breaks provide just about the lowest return on investment (32 cents on the dollar) of any federal stimulus activity. As the Washington Post summed it up:

Why? As the CBO notes, most Bush tax cut dollars go to higher-income households, and these top earners don’t spend as much of their income as lower earners. In fact, of 11 potential stimulus policies the CBO recently examined, an extension of all of the Bush tax cuts ties for lowest bang for the buck. (The CBO did not examine the high-income tax cuts separately, but the logic it used suggests that extending those cuts alone would have even less value.) The government could more effectively stimulate the economy by letting the high-income tax cuts expire and using the money for aid to the states, extensions of unemployment insurance benefits and tax credits favoring job creation. Dollar for dollar, each of these measures would have about three times the impact on GDP as continuing the Bush tax cuts.

It is true, as the New York Times and AP each reported over the last several days, that the recent decline in consumer spending among the richest 5% of Americans is contributing to the slowdown of the economic recovery. But giving them more money isn’t the answer.

Lie #9. Bush Tax Cuts Produced 52 Straight Months of Job Growth

One month after the start of the recession which bears his name, President Bush in January 2008 proclaimed “America has added jobs for a record 52 straight months.” Now, two and a half years later, former RNC chief Ed Gillespie is still bragging:

“The fact is, under the Bush tax cuts, we did have 52 months of-in uninterrupted job creation, longest in the history of the country.”

While it is technically true the U.S. experienced moderate job growth between 2003 and 2007, the claim is also irrelevant.

The verdict on President Bush’s reign of ruin was pronounced even before Barack Obama took the oath of office. January 9, 2009, the Republican-friendly Wall Street Journal summed it up with an article titled simply, “Bush on Jobs: the Worst Track Record on Record.” The Journal noted that “The Bush administration created about three million jobs (net) over its eight years, a fraction of the 23 million jobs created under President Bill Clinton’s administration.” Just days after the Washington Post documented that George W. Bush presided over the worst eight-year economic performance in the modern American presidency, the New York Times on January 24 featured an analysis (“Economic Setbacks That Define the Bush Years”) comparing presidential performance going back to Eisenhower. As the Times showed, George W. Bush, the first MBA president, was a historic failure when it came to expanding GDP, producing jobs and fueling stock market growth.

But it was the release of a Census Bureau report last September (“Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008″) which in 67 pages laid bare the economic devastation and human toll during the Bush presidency. As The Atlantic (“Closing The Book On The Bush Legacy”) rightly noted, “It’s not a record many Republicans are likely to point to with pride”:

On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush’s two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country’s condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton’s two terms, often substantially.

Lie #10: The Rich Pay Too Much in Taxes Already

In February 2009, Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann declared, “We’re running out of rich people in this country.” Just in time for tax day two months later, Bush flunkie Ari Fleischer comically expanded on that Republican meta myth.

Unsurprisingly, Fleischer took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to make his plea on behalf of the nation’s bedraggled wealthy. The top 10% of taxpayers, Fleischer argued, are “supporting virtually everyone and everything” and “their burden keeps getting heavier.” As he put it:

“It’s also what’s called redistribution of income, and it is getting out of hand.”

Oh, it’s gotten out of hand all right. Just not, as the data make abundantly clear, in the direction Fleischer claims.

As for the richest 2% of Americans, they will pay more in income taxes if President Obama gets his way. But then again, the last time the top income tax rate was 39%, as it was under Bill Clinton, the United States enjoyed a booming economy, rising incomes, low unemployment and expanding budget surpluses. A booming economy, that is, for everyone.

UPDATE: Almost on cue, Eric Cantor on admitted the Bush tax cuts “dig the hole deeper” on the deficit, but supports making them permanent nevertheless. Meanwhile, Karl Rove doubled-down on the fraud that they led to “the largest amount of revenue being received by the government.”

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Cantor Admits Extending Bush Tax Cuts Would ‘Dig The Hole Deeper’ On The Deficit — But He Doesn’t Care

Well, the thin veil of “fiscal conservatism” comes off quickly for the likes of House and Senate politicians:

Think Progress

In recent weeks, Republicans have been trying to create an alternate reality in which tax cuts don’t add to the U.S. deficit. Specifically, these deficit frauds have been arguing that the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 — which are scheduled to expire at the end of the year — actually increased government revenue, and a further extension doesn’t need to be offset. Some examples:

– “That there’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

– “The Bush tax cuts led to a couple of things. They led to first of all, the largest amount of revenue being received by the government. They helped encourage economic growth and grew tax revenues.” — Karl Rove

– “This is a continuation of a tax policy, so I would say you don’t have to ask for a paid-for continued tax policy. This is a tax increase if we let this happen without doing something happen about it. They have also demonstrated they increase in revenue with the capital gains as a part of that.” — Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

Today, however, MSNBC’s Savannah Guthrie pressed Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) to admit that tax cuts do indeed increase the deficit. Cantor tried to evade her question by saying the issue needs to be looked at “through the prism of the working families seeking jobs,” but when pressed, he conceded that her point was right.

GUTHRIE: [W]ill you just as simply acknowledge that passing these tax cuts worsens the budget deficit problem? I mean, you can’t deny that, right?

CANTOR: Savannah, let’s look at it through the prism of the working families seeking jobs and the small business people who are creating them. It’s not a tax cut they’re looking for. They don’t want a tax hike. And that’s –

GUTHRIE: But that wasn’t my question. … I just was wondering if you had any dispute with the notion that it does exacerbate the deficit picture?

CANTOR: Well, what I said in the beginning is, if you have less revenues coming in to the federal government, and more expenditures, what does that add up to? Certainly you are going to dig the hole deeper, but you also have to understand if the priority is to get people back to work, is to start growing this economy again, you don’t want to make it more expensive for job creators.

Watch:

 

Basically, Cantor is acknowledging that raising taxes on wealthy Americans would significantly contribute to his professed desire to cut the federal deficit, but he doesn’t care; he’d rather cut programs (like unemployment benefits) that benefit the middle class.

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Bill Kristol: Republicans Should ‘Just Shut Up’ About Charlie Rangel’s Ethics Charges

Huffington Post

Some conservatives on Sunday pointed to New York Congressman Charlie Rangel’s ethics charges as evidence that Democrats had failed to “drain the swamp” in Washington. Activist Liz Cheney, for example, accused Rangel of “real imperial arrogance.”

But even as the GOP piled on — and Democrats established their distance — there were those in the Republican tent who expressed caution about suddenly becoming ethical crusaders.

“Just shut up,” the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol said on “Fox News Sunday” when asked what Republicans should do about Rangel. “There is a bipartisan ethics committee. Let the process go forward they don’t need jump on this — they will just get questioned. Believe me there are plenty of congressman in both parties who have been imperial and arrogant and who have centers named after them … The idea that republicans should go around throwing stones at Charlie Range; is just foolish on their part.”

Even before Kristol’s remarks, other Republicans exhibited caution too. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for one, was forced to sidestep questions about the various ethics scandals involving fellow Senate Republicans — notably John Ensign (R-N.V.) and David Vitter — during a sit down with “Fox News Sunday.”

“I think it’s important for members of Congress to have the highest possible ethical standards,” he said. “And a number of members over the years got in trouble, some have them have had to leave Senate as a result of it.”

And when pressed to place the Rangel ethics charges in the context of the 2010 elections, McConnell declined.

“Spending too much, taxing too much, borrowing too much and their job killing programs are what’s on the mind of the American people,” he said on Sunday.

Continue reading…

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ALAN GRAYSON TARGETED BY RIGHT WING DEATH SQUADS

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RNC cancels Breitbart fundraiser

CNN Political Ticker

From

Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, pictured, was scheduled to appear with RNC Chairman Michael Steele at a reception later this month in Beverly Hills.

Washington (CNN) – The Republican National Committee has cancelled a fundraiser with conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, who is under fire for promoting an edited video that falsely portrays former Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod as having boasted about discriminating against a white farmer looking for her assistance.

Breitbart was scheduled to appear with RNC Chairman Michael Steele at a reception later this month in Beverly Hills.

“We are working on scheduling and we fully plan to have another event scheduled soon based on our existing trips to California,” an RNC spokesman said in a statement sent to CNN.

The spokesman said the fundraiser was cancelled “To better capitalize on the fall fundraising season that happens post-Labor Day, while also lowering costs by utilizing existing trips to California.”

Breitbart has been under fire for posting the video clip of Sherrod that led to a rush to judgment and Sherrod’s forced resignation. She was later vindicated when her speech to a chapter of the NAACP was shown in full. Sherrod said on Friday that she will sue Breitbart.

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The Sunday Roundup

Politico

http://www.politico.com/singletitlevideo.html?bcpid=19407224001&bctid=359250224001

On the Sunday shows: THE WAR – The U.S. isn’t in Afghanistan for nation building, says Gates. Kerry sees common U.S.-Iranian interests in Afghanistan, while Graham warns on an ‘unholy’ left-right domestic alliance to end the war,  and he praises Obama on Pakistan.  And Levin sees an Afghanistan nightmare in the making — for the Taliban.  

WIKILEAKS FALLOUT — Info trumps secrecy, says Gates. Mullen rips the leakers. Kerry shrugs off Pentagon Papers parallels. And Graham asks: who the hell is watching?  

THE SPEAKER – Pelosi and Gates offer very different expectations for next year’s drawdown. Plus: The speaker signals her unhappiness with the Afghan war, says she’s “sad” about Rangel, and dismisses the prediction of “that gentleman” Gibbs, but doesn’t deign to name him. THE REST  Boehner: GOP agenda coming in August. will offer its agenda this month. Kyl says it’s time for Congress to step up on immigration.  Greenspan sounds glum. Levin says Obama’s still in demand on the trail. Rangel’s situation is “not good for New York,” says Bloomberg,  who again rules out a 2010 presidential run. Palin blames the press for her low numbers, calls the Obama plan to roll back the Bush tax cuts “idiotic.” And Amanpour’s Sunday morning debut.

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Ethics cases raise racial questions

Politico

The politically charged decisions by veteran Democratic Reps. Charles Rangel of New York and Maxine Waters of California to force public trials by the House ethics committee are raising questions about race and whether black lawmakers face more scrutiny over allegations of ethical or criminal wrongdoing than their white colleagues.

The controversy over the cases and the prospect of the first simultaneous ethics trials for multiple members in more than 30 years mark the biggest challenge for the ethics committee’s and the House’s ability to police its own members since the mid-1990s, when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and other leaders from both parties found themselves hauled before the secretive panel.

The question of whether black lawmakers are now being singled out for scrutiny has been simmering throughout the 111th Congress, with the Office of Congressional Ethics a focal point of the concerns. At one point earlier this year, all eight lawmakers under formal investigation by the House ethics committee, including Rangel and Waters, were black Democrats. All those investigations originated with the OCE, which can make recommendations — but take no final actions — on such cases.

There’s a “dual standard, one for most members and one for African-Americans,” said one member of the Congressional Black Caucus, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The member said it’s too easy for an outside group to damage someone’s reputation by filing a claim with OCE.

“This is stacked against you once an accusation is made,” the lawmaker added. “You’re guilty until proven otherwise.”

Rangel made his own referral to the ethics committee after news reports in 2008 that he improperly controlled four rent-stabilized units in a luxury Harlem building and had used official congressional letterhead to mail donor solicitations for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York. That case later expanded to include Rangel’s failure to pay taxes on rental income on a Dominican Island resort home, failure to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in income on his annual disclosure form and his intervention on a tax break for a million-dollar donor to the Rangel Center.

On Thursday, the ethics committee hit Rangel with a 13-count Statement of Violation after a nearly two-year probe into his finances and failed attempts to strike a deal to avert formal charges.

Continue reading more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/40533.html#ixzz0vQQMLbpS

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Liz Cheney calls on Obama to shut down WikiLeaks

This woman and her dad act more like authoritarians than any other politicians I’ve seen.  I would say George “The Decider” Bush was the most authoritarian of all, but I’m still one of those who thinks Cheney was running the entire eight year Bush presidency. 

Either way, these people are no longer in office.  There’s been a new sheriff in town for almost two years now.  They should go write some papers at one of their right-wing think tanks and let Obama be Obama.

Raw Story

Following the release of 92,000 war log files, Liz Cheney is calling for WikiLeaks to be shut down and says that the founder has “blood on his hands.”

“I would point out that although you’ve got the news about the WikiLeaks documents that that came out this week and clearly Julian Assange’s effort was to change course for the US policy in Afghanistan,” Cheney told Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday.

“He was unsuccessful in that. He does clearly have blood on his hands potentially for the people whose names were in those documents who helped the US and I think that’s something he will have to live with now,” she continued.

“I would really like to see President Obama to move to ask the government of Iceland to shut that website down. I would like to see him move to shut it down ourselves if Iceland won’t do it. I would like to see them move aggressively to prosecute Mr. Assange and certainly ensure that he never again gets a visa to enter the United States,” said Cheney.

“What he’s done is very clearly aiding and abetting al Qaeda. And as I said, he may very well be responsible for the deaths of American soldiers Afghanistan,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told ABC’s This Week that he’s “appalled” and “mortified” at Wikileaks’ release of the Afghan war documents, and the Web site is at least “morally” guilty in the matter.

“There are two areas of culpability. One is legal culpability. And that’s up to the Justice Department and others. That’s not my arena. But there’s also a moral culpability. And that’s where I think the verdict is guilty on WikiLeaks,” Gates said. “They have put this out without any regard whatsoever for the consequences.”

Gates also warned that next year’s planned drawdown of troops from Afghanistan would be minimal.

The Hill reports:

With the anticipated troop drawdown less than a year away, Gates re-emphasized that “we are not leaving Afghanistan in July of 2011″ and that “the pace will depend on conditions on the ground.”

He corroborated a recent assessment made by Vice President Joe Biden — and contrary to the hopes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — that the drawdown would be “as few as a couple thousand troops.”

“Drawdowns early on will be of fairly limited numbers,” he said.

 

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Filed under Liz Cheney, Wikileaks

Palin reads crib notes during Fox interview

Why is everyone so surprised.  The woman is not the sharpest tool in the GOP “shed”, and from what I can see, there aren’t very many sharp tools at all in the GOP!

 Raw Story

Blames media for her plunging popularity numbers

$3.8 trillion is such a big number that Sarah Palin can’t remember it without writing notes on her hand.

In February, Palin found herself the butt of many jokes after she was caught using answers written on her hand a speech to the Tea Party. Palin called the trick “a poor man’s version of a teleprompter.”

The former Alaska governor returned to the use of crib notes during an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday. Palin explained that the expiring Bush tax cuts would mean the largest tax increase in American history.

“Democrats are poised now to cause this largest tax increase in US history,” Palin told Wallace. “It’s tax increase of $3.8 trillion over the next ten years and it will have an effect on every single American who pays income tax.

My palm isn’t large enough to have written all my notes down on,” she admitted.

“What do you have written on your hand?” asked Wallace.

“$3.8 trillion in the next ten years so I didn’t say $3.7 trillion and get dinged by the liberals saying I didn’t know what I was talking about,” Palin answered.

Palin’s estimate is debatable. While the number $3.8 trillion has been circulating as the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts, CBO estimates put the cost closer to $2.2 trillion.

Liberals may also question Palin’s claim that all Americans will be hit by increasing taxes. A chart by the Wall Street Journal shows that taxes for single Americans making less than $300,000 will stay the same under President Barack Obama’s tax policy for 2011. Taxes for married couples making less than $300,000 will actually go down.

This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast Aug. 1, 2010.

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